Q. My father is 72 and so far quite active. He has owned a few pieces of property in a low-income section of Washington for a good many years. His repair bills are so enormous that he realizes very little at the end of the year. Now that he is able to sell. I think it would be best for him to do so. What is your opinion? B.B. Maryland.
A. A decision to sell might be a sound one but your father might also consider three alternatives and seek expert advice to determine whether they are advantageous.
First, if this property may be considered "historical property" under the 1976 Tax Reform Act, your father can convey less than a fee interest to a charitable, tex-exempt organization. He will receive a charitable deduction (to apply against income tax he otherwise might have to pay) for the value of the estate conveyed.If your father can be use such a tax deduction, this alternative may be advantageous.
Second, he may purchase an annuity for life by selling the property (to his child or children, for example). He will pay income tax on the annual annuity amount as it is received by him. In this way, he will avoid an estate tax and receive and annual income for the rest of his life. This is called a "private annuity."
Third, your father may set up a "charitable remainder trust" that will allow him to receive an annual annuity during his remaining years while avoiding the burden of management. But this alternative may be difficult for several reasons, among them, the lack of net income from the property.
Earl. A. Synder, a realtor, appraiser and attorney who specializes in investment real estate appraising and counseling, answers questions anly in this column. His address: 14909 Kalmia Drive, Laurel, 20810.